“When people are not paying attention to their core at the gym, you can see it,” says Danberg. “They stand there as if they are at their kitchen counter.”
Both Danberg and Haley say the body’s core is the basis of all human movement, so strengthening it improves all other physical activities. “Many exercisers only place a focus on contracting the abdominal muscles when doing specific ab exercises such as sit-ups or when using an ab machine. While this is good, contracting this area during exercise movements such as bench presses, back row and leg presses will allow better stability during the movement and less risk of injury,” says Danberg.
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The core refers not only to your abdominal muscles but to the entire area from your chest down to your hips. Strengthening the core means focusing on your legs and upper, middle and lower back too.
Danberg tells his clients to always work out in “sport-ready position”: standing in a posture you could quickly move from if, say, someone threw a ball your way. “Slightly bend your knees and hold in your abs. Your posture will immediately improve, and you will feel your whole body working,” he says.